BRITISH Indoors 800m champion Guy Learmonth is a late addition to what promises to be an exciting domestic field for the two-lap event at the second British Milers’ Club Grand Prix at SportCity Manchester.
The 24-year-old Lasswade athlete joins Liverpool’s 20-year-old Liverpool Harrier Jamie Webb, who ran his PB of 1:47.33 in Belgium last weekend.
Learmonth finished behind Webb in that race and the pair are now placed second and third in the UK Rankings behind Theo Blundell, who won the opening Grand Prix at Stretford.
Also in the field are Paul Goodall and Spencer Thomas, who have both run 1:49 this year plus Christian Von Eitzen, who won the B race at Stretford plus Rory Graham-Watson.
Two years ago Graham-Watson won the A race at SportCity in 1:47.79 but the 25-year-old didn’t race the track last year and only returned to action over two laps with 1:50.27 for fifth place in Stretford so he will be hoping to make further progress.
Sweden’s Johan Svensson (1:48) and Ben Anderson of New Zealand (1:49) are also entered.
The women’s 800m also look full of promise with New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games runner Angie Petty – previously Smit but now married to North Devon AC runner Sam Petty - who only flew into the UK from her home in Christchurch in the week, leading a strong women’s field.
Among her British rivals will be Scottish international Katy Brown, who won the B race last year, Jenny Tan, Rachel McClay and 19-year-old Mhairi Hendry, who is the fastest junior this year with a PB 2:05.59 that is inside the European U20 Championships qualifying standard of 2:06.00.
Other juniors entered include the Cornwall pair of Molly Long, who was tripped and fell at Stretford two weeks ago and Charlotte Cayton-Smith.
Steve Mitchell is relishing his debut at the 3000m steeplechase after deciding he had progressed as far as he could in the 1500m.
The former England Athletics metric mile champion, who boasts a personal best of 3mins 38secs and only two weeks ago won the Loughborough International meeting, has been preparing hard with coach James Thie to make the switch to the barriers as the pair feel the event offers great potential.
“I am very excited about making the move to the ’chase and making my debut this weekend,” said Mitchell.
“I am very pleased with what I have achieved at 1500m and I still think I could have improved my PB but when it comes to major championships I would always struggle as my 800m time is not quick enough.
“I have always had to out-strength people but in the steeplechase I feel I have a better range of tactics as long as I can master the barriers.
“I have been working hard on that and my technique in training and while I am not expecting any wonders straightaway I am really excited about the new challenge.”
Mitchell, who recently celebrated his 27th birthday, has always been a big supporter of BMC races though he has never won a Grand Prix A race. Maybe that will change this weekend?
But favourite for event will be the experienced Doug Musson, who broke nine minutes for the first time this season and has twice improved his PB with first 8:55.70 for second in the BUCS and then 8:54.49 in the Loughborough International to lift him to seventh in the UK Rankings.
Elsewhere steeplechase international Racheal Bamford switches to the 1500m where she faces Ireland’s 800m international Rose-Anne Galligan, who has yet to race this season.
Bamford boasts a PB of 4:13.92, which she set last year in Dublin and this year has recorded 4:19.34 indoors.
Teenager Rosie Johnson, who ran superbly at Trafford to finish second in the B race and inside the World Youth qualifying mark, is also entered as is Amy Griffiths. The pair are currently second and third in the UK Rankings for Under 20 women.
Please note that for 2015 the entry fees are:-
Stadium entry - £4.00
Race entry for BMC members - free
Race entry for non-members - £10.00
No longer running?
As we expect all the Grand Prix meetings are going to be over-subscribed, it means we will have to turn athletes away. If you have already entered and can no longer compete please can you inform the person that your entry went to. This will not only allow another athlete to compete but can also mean that several athletes could be moved up a race (from C to B, D to C, E to D, etc. We consider this a matter of courtesy, both to the organisers and to your fellow athletes.
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British Milers Club members
BMC members that appear on the start lists with ** next to their name are in arrears with their membership subs. Please bring your cheque book. Further clarification can be obtained from